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The Newsletter of the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario
May 2017
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President's Message

Welcome to Spring!  A personal favorite time of the year for me is when the weather warms up and everything starts to grow and look pretty again.

It was great to see so many members at the social event at the CN Tower on March 23, 2017.  Our sponsors had some amazing prizes to give away and all that attended enjoyed spending some time catching up with friends and colleagues and meeting new people. 

ILCO’s 27th Conference in Halifax was a great success.  I want to thank the members of the Conference Committee, the ILCO staff and the directors for all of their hard work.

As most of you know, we usually have a golf tournament before the start of conference.  This year, we are trying something different.  We are having our golf tournament on June 3, 2017 to enable more members to attend.  Details are in this edition of the Law Clerk’s Review. 

If you have attended some of the recent CLE programs at the ILCO office, we would welcome your feedback and suggestions for future programs. 

The new website will be ready to launch soon.  A big thanks to Karen Daly of the ILCO office for her hard work on the website and for helping the Board of Directors with this project.

Lisa Matchim
President

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Messages from ILCO

ILCO’S 27th Annual Conference – May 17-20, 2017

Did you miss this fantastic event?

Halifax Library

ILCO’s 27th Annual Conference, ILCO by the Sea, was held at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront in Halifax, Nova Scotia from May 17 – 20, 2017 and will be highlighted in the next edition of the Law Clerks' Review.

Conference Committee
Ian Curry, Rose Kottis and Margaret Tsetsakos, Co-Chairs
Karen Daly, Wanda Doiron, Zadiha Iqbal, Gina Lohnes,
Lisa Matchim, Rana Mirdawi, Tammy Parker, and
Suzanne VanSligtenhorst

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18th Annual Golf Tournament - June 3, 2017

ILCO’s 18th Annual Golf Tournament is being held at the Royal Woodbine Golf Club in Toronto on Saturday June 3, 2017. It is the first golf tournament taking place as a wind-down post-conference event. It is a great way to re-connect with conference participants, colleagues, exhibitors and sponsors, as well as bringing your family and friends to share in the fun and camaraderie. For more information and a copy of the Golf Registration form, click here.

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Interested in Submitting an Article for the Law Clerks' Review?

The Law Clerks’ Review is an excellent resource for timely articles of interest to law clerks as well as notices to keep up to date with ILCO’s initiatives like CLE programs, new memberships, conferences and social events.  This newsletter is published quarterly and emailed to all members, in addition to being posted on ILCO’s website.  We are always pleased to receive and consider your articles for publication.

To submit an article for consideration, please send the article to newsletter@ilco.on.ca.

Newsletter Committee
Rana Mirdawi and Clint Savary (Co-Chairs),
Shaneen Laity, Michelle Alexander,
Michelle Shikatani and Karen Daly

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Get Involved!

JOIN AN ILCO COMMITTEE

ILCO committees are always in need of members. Consider joining any one of the committees - Education, CLE, Certification, Newsletter and Public Relations. It is a great way to tap into your resources and network. Contact Karen Daly, Office Administrator, at 416-214-6252 or at Karen_Daly@ilco.on.ca for further information.

CLE PROGRAMS

We are hard at work planning CLE programs and we want to hear from you! Do you have a topic you would like to see covered? Let us know! Submit your requests to: CLE@ilco.on.ca

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Recent Events

Spring Social Thanks!

by The ILCO Public Relations Committee

The Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario held its 2017 Spring Social on Thursday, March 23, in the Horizons Restaurant atop the CN Tower. 

The Public Relations Committee organized this exclusive, members-only event.  The food prepared by the Horizons restaurant was described by members as “Phenomenal” and “Really outstanding” with many specific compliments regarding the selection of cheese as well as the oyster and hip of beef stations - not to mention the passed around hors d’oeuvres, platters of antipasto and scrumptious desserts!

ILCO Directors and staff were on hand to mingle with members who enjoyed the opportunity to network, share new experiences and best practices with colleagues and marvel at the spectacular view!

The Public Relations Committee and the Board of Directors would like to thank our generous sponsors – Do Process, ESC, Rai Grant Insurance and Stewart Title - who not only supported the event, but took the time to attend and address our members, as well as meet with many ILCO members who use their products and services. 

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Spring Social at the CN Tower

by Helga Morales

On March 23, 2017 ILCO held its annual Spring Social atop the CN Tower’s Horizons Restaurant. At 1,135.2 ft (lookout level) the views of Toronto and Lake Ontario were simply breathtaking; not to mention the gastronomic experience was elevated to another level! The beauty of a sunset cannot be captured by a selfie but being high up off the ground certainly enhanced the experience. For many, this event marks the start of the social calendar year. As law clerks we spend countless billable hours working (yes, my professional life is sadly measured in tenths of a minute; I envy you in-house clerks!) and we often lose sight of the things we take for granted like spending time with friends and colleagues. Every year my friends and I look forward to this event because it gives us an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. It reminds us to check in from time to time and focus on what’s important, relationships. Law clerks work hard but are known to party harder. Hopefully that will not change. A huge thank you to ILCO and its generous sponsors for recognizing the importance of networking. A special thanks to Ms. Lisa for always indulging my friends and I in staying a little while longer after the party is over. I’m already looking forward to the next event. Stay social! 

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Spring Social - A Spectacular Event

by ESC

ESC LogoA spectacular evening that started with a high speed elevator ride taking you up at 20 feet per second.  Thank you ILCO for hosting the 9th Annual Spring Social 550 metres into the sky taking in the breathtaking views of our city below.   ESC was a proud sponsor of this event as it provides us a special opportunity to meet with our loyal customers and express our appreciation for entrusting ESC with your legal due diligence business.  Our operating philosophy is characterized by a focus on you the customer who depends on ESC as an entrusted manager and administer of valuable information.  This approach has fostered a rich, customer service-driven culture, an industry-leading service offering and has positioned ESC as a significant partner for your firm.

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Focus: Spike in Demand for Law Clerks

Michael McKiernan, Law Times

Law firms of all sizes are waking up to the value of law clerks, spurring a spike in demand for their services, according to industry observers.

Catherine D’Aversa predicted the hiring spree would eventually arrive back in 2011, when, sensing that a shift in the legal market was about to hit, she left her job as director of corporate services at a major Canadian law firm to start her own consulting business.

“Clients were demanding that their law firms change the way they provide services, and I could see that one of the biggest changes was going to be in the way that law clerks are used and in how much work filters down to that level,” D’Aversa says.

“Law clerks are a cheaper resource, but they’re also highly skilled.”

Now she’s president of Legal Resource Consulting, a company that specializes in assessing law firms’ law clerk and paralegal services and how well they match up with their clients’ needs.

She then helps firms develop processes and systems designed to maximize productivity and profitability.  

“When I started, things were already moving in that direction in the U.K., and soon it spread to the rest of Europe. Then you saw it in the U.S. and, of course, at some time, it had to hit Canada,” D’Aversa says.

Statistics released last month by Robert Half Legal suggest a law clerk boom has well and truly arrived on these shores.

A survey of Canadian lawyers showed almost a quarter — 23 per cent — planned to increase their hiring of law clerks over the next year, compared with four per cent who planned to cut back.

For those already in a job, the survey indicated they could expect a pay rise, with an average salary boost of around three per cent across all levels of expertise.

Mid-level law clerks saw the biggest rises, so that someone with between four and six years of experience at a small- to medium-size law firm could expect an annual wage of between $53,000 and $65,000.

Sara Lutecki, division director for Robert Half Legal’s Toronto office, says demand for law clerks is higher than she has seen in several years.

“The amount of clients we have looking for law clerks is far in excess of the number of people that are available to fill the positions, so I can’t see it slowing any time soon,” she says.

According to Lutecki, law firms are attracted by the continuity that a law clerk can bring to an office or particular practice group.

“They’re more likely to stay at a similar level for longer than junior lawyers, and they can do a lot of the substantive work that might otherwise go to young associates,” she says.

In addition, she says firms particularly value clerks with a two-year diploma in an accredited program or a combined bachelor’s degree and diploma, with almost half of respondents requiring one or the other.

Lisa Matchim, president of the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario, says she has also noticed job postings increasingly require membership in her organization as a condition of employment.

“Law firms are realizing the value of the ongoing education that we provide,” she says.

Matchim, a real estate clerk in the Toronto office of Stikeman Elliott LLP, has spent most of her career at large firms, but she also has some experience at smaller outfits.

“Bigger firms and mid-size ones I think know and understand the value that law clerks can bring. Where we have found a discrepancy is at the smaller firms, where they haven’t traditionally hired as many law clerks, which may be a function of the cost,” she says.

“You may find people in those offices who are working at the capacity of a law clerk, but they never get the title or the pay that a recognized law clerk could get.”

Rose Kottis, another member of the ILCO board, attends conferences aimed at small firms and sole practitioners and says she finds herself frequently facing the following question from attending lawyers: “Why would I need a law clerk when I’ve got an assistant?”

“We educate them, and let them know that a law clerk is a billable employee, so not only do we essentially pay our own salaries, but we can make money for the firm,” says Kottis, a trusts, wills and estates clerk with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s Toronto office.

Unlike legal assistants or secretaries, the Law Society of Upper Canada recognizes tasks done by law clerks as work that can be charged out to clients.

“We have had judges calling up the ILCO office if they’re going over a bill of costs, to check that it was indeed a law clerk whose costs were being claimed,” Kottis says.

And she says the message is increasingly getting through to lawyers in smaller firms, which may help explain the recent boost in hiring numbers.

“If you can give part of your own work to a law clerk, then it frees up more time to work on the bigger files or do more marketing,” Kottis says.

But hiring law clerks only gets law firms so far, according to productivity expert Ann Gomez.

Unless they use their support staff properly, she says, lawyers could find they’re still missing out. For many, learning to delegate can be a particular problem, Gomez says.

“You see some lawyers who get into trouble because they try to do all the work themselves. They have very high standards, and they might have come out of law school used to doing it all alone,” she says.

“It can be hard to let go, but if you want to grow your firm and develop your career, then spreading the work among various members of your team is going to be a necessary part of that process. I’m a huge advocate of having the right work done by the right person.”

Gomez says the best delegators set clear instructions and expectations for support staff from the outset of a task.

“Anything you can provide in terms of help or guidance, such as a sample precedent or something else that provides a clear view of what you’re looking for, will be appreciated,” she says.

Specific and realistic deadlines are also critical for healthy relationships between senior lawyers and their law clerks, Gomez adds.

“A lot of people will simply say they need something done as soon as possible. But if you say it should be done by Friday, or some clear deadline, it allows your law clerk to prioritize their other work,” Gomez says.

“You also need to give them sufficient time to do a good job. If you come and say: ‘I need this by yesterday,’ it becomes a huge source of frustration, especially if it’s been sitting on your desk for a week.”

In an ideal scenario, which Gomez calls “the Teflon approach,” she says lawyers offload tasks almost as soon as work comes through their door.

“When work comes in, you want it to bounce off you rather than sticking to your desk. If you don’t have time to talk them through the task, pass it on anyway and tell them you’ll talk about it tomorrow. A simple heads up is going to be highly valuable to the law clerk,” Gomez says.

“The same goes for feedback. When someone does some work for you, there’s nothing more demoralizing than having it returned three weeks later with suggestions. Turn it around quickly, before it gets stuck to your desk.”

This article was published on-line in Law Times on May 1, 2017. ILCO wishes to thank Michael McKiernan and Law Times for permitting ILCO to reprint the article.
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Announcements

Calendar of Events

  • May 31, 2017 - Estates Associate Course Provincial Examination Date
  • June 3, 2017 - 18th Annual Golf Tournament, Royal Woodbine Golf Club
  • June 14, 2017 - Half Day Advanced Personal Injury CLE
  • June 15, 2017 - Corporate Associate Course Provincial Exam Registration Deadline
  • June 29, 2017 - Corporate Associate Course Provincial Examination Date

See www.ilco.on.ca for further details. Dates may be subject to change.

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About ILCO

ILCO Board of Directors 2016/2017

  • Lisa Matchim
    President
  • Rose Kottis
    Vice-President, Registrar and
    Co-Chair Conference
  • Margaret Tsetsakos
    Treasurer and
    Co-Chair Conference
  • Suzanne VanSligtenhorst
    Secretary and
    Co-Chair Public Relations
  • Russell Connelly
    Co-Chair CLE
  • Ian Curry
    Co-Chair Public Relations
  • Zadiha Iqbal
    Co-Chair Public Relations
  • Rana Mirdawi
    Co-Chair Newsletter
  • Natasha Khan
    Co-Chair CLE
  • Kathryn Rizzi
    Chair Certification and
    Co-Chair Education
  • Clint Savary
    Co-Chair Newsletter and
    Chair of Governance

 

Job Hotline

Information on current employment opportunities is available at the ILCO website www.ilco.on.ca.

For information on placing a job advertisement please contact ILCO at 416.214.6252 or by email to reception@ilco.on.ca.

 

Advertise in the Law Clerks' Review

The Law Clerks’ Review welcomes advertising for law-related businesses.  Please ask about bulk advertising rates.

For information on advertising in the Law Clerks’ Review contact Karen Daly, Office Administrator, at 416.214.6252 or email to newsletter@ilco.on.ca.

 

Change of Address

Are you moving? Don’t miss a single issue of the Law Clerks' Review. Forward your new mailing address to:

The Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario
20 Adelaide Street East, Suite 502
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2T6

or by email to: members@ilco.on.ca
or by fax to: 416.214.6255

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The views expressed in articles, correspondence, etc. are those of the writer(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of ILCO.

The Board reserves the right to edit all submissions.

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